The young X-Men have been welcomed by Kitty’s secret ally: Nick Fury. Kitty tells him she is ready to get to work. He asks to see her rifle. Nice weapon, he admits and tells her to maintain it. Learn how to clean it. Sleep with it. Respect it. They are in this now, no screwing around, he warns them.
Kitty points out they weren’t screwing around when travelled 2000 miles to get here through checkpoints and patrols and are not about to start now. Sir.
He warns Kitty he knows her type: young, idealistic, on the receiving end of governmental oppression, in possession of an assault rifle and more than a little bit of charisma and leadership skills. He spent a good two decades of black ops work putting revolutionary upstarts like her out of business in crapholes around the world. And look at them now.
Warily, Kitty asks what he is doing here? Why her? Why them? She stepped up, he replies simply. Did she think the Ultimates would sit this one out? He had a hell of a time talking Cap into letting him take this one. Things like concentration camps and mass graves tend to bother him. Consider him at her disposal.
He knows what’s going on here and waited for her to show up? she asks angrily. Why didn’t he bring an army down on this place? Those crapholes he mentioned? They did bring the firepower there, and in the end diddly-squat changed. It’s gotta happen internally. A mutant’s gotta fix this. He’s got their back: intel, supplies, whatever they need. Ms. Pryde is in command here. He warns her that all he sees in these tunnels is a lot of scared, beaten down people. She’s got her work cut out for her. He tells them to fight like hell. This ain’t no third-world craphole. Never forget what they are trying to save. What they need to preserve. Kitty silently figures he means America. But she isn’t here for that. She’s here to fight for mutantkind.
Hidden from patrols, Kitty and Page Guthrie aka Husk observe one of the later mutant internment camps, the one Paige escaped from. At that time, it had something like fifty or sixty prisoners. Packed in those buildings? Kitty asks. Looks like mobile homes. Paige points out it isn’t meant to be permanent and warns the Sentinel patrol will be by in a minute.
What’s New York like? she asks apropos of nothing. She’s only been there as a kid. Did touristy stuff. She saw the Christmas tree light up in Rockefeller Plaza. It’s exactly like that, Kitty tells her. Except with riots and lots of soldiers. Not a good place to be a mutant either.
Paige notes that Kitty is even more intense than Fury. Kitty tells her in New York they were hiding in tunnels underground, a whole group of them. They did that while all this was going on. What Paige and the others went through. She couldn’t do it anymore, listening to her friends goofing around and cracking jokes, exploring the tunnels, watching TV on their tablets like the world was normal. So she got them to pack up and come with her here to fight in the ground zero of mutant oppression. And yeah, it required a fair amount of intensity on her part.
Paige notices a Sentinel patrol, “husks” and pushes Kitty down. How’s that for intense? she asks when they are gone. Her new form was how she was able to escape. Some of her forms don’t show up on infrared or Sentinel optics. She asks her to look away. She has to come back. Also, the guy that came with Kitty. the broody one in the cowboy hat - don’t tell him she sheds.
Husk takes Kitty around the whole area. Hours of hiking and dozens of camps. Husk answers all her questions but is less forthcoming about her own time in the camps. By the time the mutants arrive, they have already been beaten down, demoralized, humiliated. And so they are herded like sheep. Kitty asks about the executions and mass graves. They come when all attempts of intelligence gathering have run their course. What intelligence? Kitty wonders. What available information do mutants possess? None, so they make it up. The best liars live the longest. But the end comes for them anyway. Kitty asks why. Paige explains it was hard to see past the guards. The guards are human militia and thugs. It’s all garden variety bigotry with them. Stryker’s the dangerous one.
Kitty point out that she killed Stryker. She doesn’t think so, Paige replies. She does think so, Kitty snaps. In New York, in front of witnesses. Well, then there are two of them or something, Paige insists. Cuz all of this? Stryker’s in charge. And he wants mutants dead and the country clean. So if Kitty ever gets another chance, kill him for good this time.
They return to the mutant caves. Bobby tells Kitty they took a census. There are forty-seven mutants in this cave and apparently there’s dozens of shelters, maybe hundreds scattered all over the southwest. Their army, Kitty states. Jimmy disagrees. They are beaten down and have no fight in them. They are useless. Whatever’s gone down out there, it’s put them all into what looks like post-traumatic stress. She knows a little about it, Kitty states.
Fury contests that she doesn’t know half of it. But Jimmy’s right about one thing and wrong about another: everyone here is beaten down, but every single one of them has the fight somewhere deep in their guts. He guarantees them that. You just gotta bring it out of them.
What a jarhead, Jimmy whispers. Fury means her, Kitty realizes. Well, he sure as hell doesn’t mean her cowboy sidekick, Fury agrees. Does he have to tell her everything?
Kitty tries to directly talk to some of the mutants, to no avail. They are traumatized. Finally she calls a gathering, telling everyone they think this is hopeless. They’ve already lost. She wants each and every one of them waiting for her when she gets back. They are going to talk!
Does he want to kill a Sentinel with her? she asks Fury. Wouldn’t miss it, he agrees. Jimmy asks if he can help. She has to do this herself, she explains. Hold it down, cowboy, Fury orders. Jimmy is seething.
Rogue walks the tunnels, looking at the other mutants when a boy with a pink Mohawk addresses her, stating she looks lonely. Maybe, she agrees. She’s not used to being around so many of them. He felt the same way once. He noticed she likes to look at people touching; couples, stuff like that. Is he going to call her a perv? she asks. He thinks it’s hot. The one good thing about these shelters is there is no reason to be lonely or to hide. She warns him he can’t touch her. Her skin is sort of lethal to most guys. Most guys, he repeats. Try him. They kiss and nothing bad happens.
Out in the mountains, Kitty tells Fury to shut up when he lectures her. That’s an order, she adds. He snorts amused but obeys. She notices a Nimrod patrol of two and orders Fury to cover her.
She fires at the first. Any day now, Fury, she orders as she evades the Nimrod’s shots. Fury fires a missile at the second one, while she finishes the first one up close.
Impressed, Fury calls her one scary teenage girl. He wants to give her a hand getting this back to the shelter? she asks.
With everyone gathered Kitty shows them the ruined Nimrod unit. This is her first day here and she killed a Nimrod. Two actually, General Fury got the other kill. This is what frustrates her. She is a tourist. She doesn’t know this area and she hasn’t had the first-hand experience they all have. She is seventeen years old and her mutant powers are mostly defensive. If she can do this, so can they.
It’s impossible! a young man protests. It’s not, Jimmy retorts. The deck is stacked against them but it’s not the first time mutants have faced down the odds. The point she is making is they gotta unite and work as a team. She was thinking more of an army, Kitty corrects him.
A redeyed boy wants to touch the inert Nimrod and announces he can use it, take it apart. He understands circuitry, signals, binary language. Its primary communication systems are inside its head. He can take it apart and figure it out. He could hack their communication. Kitty tells him to do it. He introduces himself as Gareb. Black Box.
Anyone else ready to take a stand? Kitty asks. Who wants to be her mutant army that takes out Stryker’s Sentinel network once and for all?
Elsewhere, the Mastermold receives snatches of her speech, recognizing Kitty’s voice…